Food journaling requires a few extra steps but is an equally effective means to track macros. Rely on information found on a food’s nutrition label and valuable tools like the USDA Nutrient Analysis Library which allow you to determine the nutrient content of generic and branded foods as well as fresh produce. Once you determine the macronutrients found in your food, simply follow these formulas when journaling:
- For percentage fat:
Multiply total grams of fat by nine. Divide the result by total daily calories. Multiply this number by 100 for percent calories from fat.
- For percentage carbohydrate:
Multiply total grams of carbohydrates by four. Divide the result by the total daily calories. Multiply this number by 100 for percent calories from carbohydrates.
- For percentage protein:
Multiply total grams of protein by four. Divide the result by the total daily calories. Multiply this number by 100 for percent calories from protein.
Striking a Balance and the Keto Flu
While your macronutrient ratio will play the most critical role, it's not the only consideration when adhering to the keto diet. Certain lifestyle factors, like hydration and exercise, will also contribute to your success.
Dehydration can exacerbate symptoms of keto flu — temporary side effects of your change in diet, including headache, fatigue, nausea and muscle cramps. Manage side effects by sipping on calorie-free and electrolyte-rich beverages throughout your day. Add in regular exercise which can help boost your resting metabolic rate and support the desired outcomes of the keto diet.
Related: Five Common Keto Mistakes
And despite keto's emphasis on macros, you still need to remember the value of micronutrients. Potassium, calcium, and vitamins C and B are just a few of the micronutrients that are essential to support optimal health.
"When you start the keto diet, select food groups will disappear from your plate," says Bede, referring to those typically packed with the aforementioned nutrients. "It's important to consider the vitamins and minerals these foods provided." She recommends finding alternate sources of nutrients or adding those foods — fruits, vegetables and grains — back to your diet in incremental quantities or consider taking a supplemental multivitamin.
Hitting the Keto Sweet Spot
Despite best-laid plans, it can sometimes be difficult to follow diets like keto because they require such strict attention to detail. "We know that being successful on keto requires a lot of rigor and regimentation," says Bede. "So you want to be sure to invest time in meal prep and meal planning."
Having convenient keto options on hand, such as ZonePerfect® Keto shakes and powders, can help you hit your macros when you're on the run or simply don't have time to prepare a balanced keto meal or snack.
And don't forget to stock your kitchen with your favorite keto-friendly foods: cheeses, olives, oils, avocados, cold-water fish, and eggs are all tasty on their own, and work beautifully in combination. "Having keto staples like these readily available is the key to long-term success," says Bede, "especially when you really enjoy eating them."